Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Friday, January 30, 2009

The nuclear question

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Florida's Public Service Commission did the state a disservice by ducking the question of whether nuclear power can be considered green energy."
    "The Legislature and the governor and the country seem to be for cleaner energy, and you can't say clean energy and - because you don't like nuclear - exclude it from the discussion," said commission member Nancy Argenziano, a former legislator. "I am in favor of sending it over to the Legislature. That is their policy call. Not ours."

    She's wrong. Booting this question to the Legislature will enmesh it in politics. When Gov. Crist asked the PSC to create Florida's energy portfolio, it became their policy call. They should have made it by declaring that nuclear is not renewable and recommending to what extent, if any, it could be considered clean.
    "Get set for nuclear politics".

    "Hey, guess what, Charlie?"

    Scott Maxwell: "Did you see what Charlie Crist said of the federal stimulus money he wants?"

    "I'm not a big-government fan, but there are times when government needs to help." Hey, guess what, Charlie? That position makes you pretty much like every other schmoe in America. Nobody likes government -- until they need it. (Kind of like lawyers.) Crist isn't alone. In fact, it's amazing how many blowhard politicians and business execs -- who used to blather on about personal responsibility and the evils of government handouts -- now have their own hands out in Washington.
    "Big-government baloney".

    Laff riot

    "Tribune: Greer, Crist Try To Bring Moderate Tone To National Party".


    "Florida leaders counting on more than $3.5 billion from a massive federal stimulus package to shore up the state's education budget learned Thursday there could be a catch."

    The state may not qualify for the money because the Legislature has cut its schools budget too much.

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed an $819 billion economic-recovery plan Wednesday. Under that bill, money in a special "state stabilization fund" would go only to states that could fund schools for the next two years at the levels they had in the 2005-06 school year.

    But the state is below that threshold. In fact, school funding coming directly from the state is now lower than it was in the 2004-05 school year. With Florida's budget shortfall for next year ballooning toward $4 billion, it's not clear it could meet that requirement.
    "Florida may come up short in stimulus".

    Sansom death spiral

    "Updated: Ray Sansom stepping down as Florida House speaker".

    "Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom, who has been attacked for taking a job a state college after getting it extra millions in funding, said Friday he's temporarily leaving the post to focus on his legal issues." "Fla. Speaker Sansom temporarily quits post". See also "Sansom out as House speaker", "Embattled Florida House Speaker Steps Down", "Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom quits post under pressure", "Sansom out" and "Amid criminal probe, Florida House speaker quits -- for now".

    More: "Read the announcement from Rep. Ray Sansom (.pdf)", "Hangar was key for developer's jet business", "Gaetz: Sansom 'apologized for any pain'", "Sansom: I will be cleared", "Gaetz: Sorry for 'Boy Scout' Sansom" and "Fla. House Speaker Ray Sansom steps aside".


    "ACORN calls Florida Chamber leader's comments "silly partisan fabrications"".

    Depends on what you mean by "top-tier"

    "Maybe Mel Martinez's Senate seat is radioactive. How else do you explain why so many top-tier candidates — Jeb Bush, Alex Sink, Bill McCollum — are taking a pass on the extraordinary opportunity of an open U.S. Senate seat?" "Uncertain times, wild card Crist keep Senate seat cold".

    Jebbie's privatization flop

    "A Medicaid privatization program former Gov. Jeb Bush touted as a national model for improving care while limiting state costs is foundering, with nearly a quarter of the participating doctors leaving over payments and the inability to treat patients as they see fit." "AP: 25 percent of doctors leave FL Medicaid pilot".

    The "Obama effect"

    Beth Reinhard:

    Political blogger Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post also sees an ''Obama effect.'' He recently included Kendrick Meek, the black Miami-Dade congressman who boldly entered Florida's Senate race, in a list of younger politicians with if-he-can-do-it-why-can't-I ambitions.

    Obama's presidency changes everything. And nothing. Walking down to the National Mall before the inauguration, I passed a black man in ratty clothes, pressed up against a doorway. He was urinating on the sidewalk.

    In Florida, the latest report by the Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys found that the unemployment rate among black men was twice the rate for their white counterparts and that black males were twice as likely to drop out of high school.

    The council's chairman, Christopher Norwood, wrote: ``The crisis of African American males in Florida is imminent; we cannot dispute the alarming rates of avoidable health diseases, high incarceration rates, low educational performance, rates of child abuse and neglect, low economic opportunities and many other negative outcomes. It is depressing at best.''
    The wingnuts ain't happy about the Obama thing:
    T. Willard ["I love 'Jeb!'"] Fair, of the Urban League of Greater Miami, said he worries too much is being made about Obama's potential impact on the black community.
    "Many eager to document 'Obama effect'".

    Failed policies

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board writes today that: "The 2008 election was a popular repudiation of failed policies. Wednesday's vote in the House is the first of what ought to be a series of legislative repudiations." And then there's the Zell corporation: "The Senate must do better than the House's irresponsible stimulus plan".

    At last

    "You would think a City Council seat that pays $3,000 a year would be a footnote to an historic election year like 2008."

    But on Thursday, two candidates vying for the Temple Terrace City Council found themselves in the media spotlight because they did something that Hillsborough County's Supervisor of Elections — under the management of Buddy Johnson — didn't do.

    Eighty-six days after Election Day, with a clutch of reporters and TV camera operators surrounding them, Mary Jane Neale and David Penoyer counted votes.
    "Lost votes tallied at last".

    A fine idea at the time ...

    "Florida's aerospace agency flounders".

    The best he could do?

    "The Republican senator who chairs the committee making budget decisions says it's time to start slashing overhead. Sen. J.D. Alexander, of Winter Haven, is calling for more cuts in recurring expenses than Gov. Charlie Crist proposed in his budget recommendation last week." "Florida GOP leader says annual budget cuts needed".


    "Klein, Wasserman look to stimulate yacht-repair industry".

    State farm

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Don't allow companies to cherry-pick lucrative policies " "State Farm looks to leave -- and to stay". The Tampa Trib editors add this: "State Farm Ignores Slogan". The South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Florida shouldn't let State Farm walk out so easily, and state must recognize it still has insurance woes to fix".

    "Simply acting as a concerned black parent"?

    "A lawyer from the Florida Attorney General's Office says Orlando Commissioner Daisy Lynum misused her position and should be fined $10,000 by the Florida Ethics Commission. But Lynum's attorney said she's innocent, and was simply acting as a concerned black parent -- not a city commissioner -- when she called the police chief during a late-night traffic stop involving her son." "State seeks $10,000 ethics fine for Orlando commissioner Daisy Lynum".


    Someone named Beth Kassab, a loyal Zell corporation employee, who is no doubt proud of her master's embarrassing history* wants you to know that: "Union proposal is bad for everyone".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    * See ""Where's E. W. Scripps when you need him?"", "Ignorance", "Oh ... The Horror", "Orlando Sentinel embarrasses itself", "The Orlando Sentinel editors are at it again", "Send in the scabs", "Picking scabs, part two", "Scab 30" (scroll down) and "Oh ... The Hypocrisy".

    Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter

    The South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial board: "When are public officials going to realize ethics are not a gray area? When are they going to realize the public doesn't want elected officials splitting hairs over what is legal and ethical and what isn't? And when are those same officials going to just realize if something doesn't pass the smell test, don't do it? Which brings us to Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter." "Old votes by Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter come back to haunt her.".


    "Deutch wants to take budget committee meetings to the people".

    Redistricting rules

    "The Florida Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for a 2010 ballot amendment designed to end political gamesmanship in drawing district boundaries, in what could be the first step to reshuffling the state's Republican-dominated political landscape." "GOP could have weaker grip on redrawing districts". See also "Florida Supreme Court OKs ballot questions to alter method for redistricting".

    Stiffing taxpayers

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Broward Commission stiffs taxpayers to help bail bondsmen." "Lobbyist win is loss for public interest".


    "Exxon Mobil shatters US record with $45.2 billion annual profit despite year-end oil plunge". Meantime, "Economy shrinks at 3.8 percent pace, worst showing in quarter-century". See also "Disney to cut 400 jobs at ABC" and "Florida jobless rate hits 1992 level".

    Good luck

    "A South Florida senator wants Florida public schools to ditch the wait-until-marriage message that's long been the basis of many sex-education classes." "Delray Beach senator wants new sex-ed policy in Florida schools".

    A fine Florida export

    "Ag-Mart, the Florida-based produce firm that has been charged with pesticide-related infractions in Florida and North Carolina in recent years, has now been handed a $931,000 fine by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for similar offenses." "Ag-Mart fined $931,000 in New Jersey".

    'Tis the season ...

    "Tax season starts now: Florida IRS offices to open".

    From the "values" crowd

    "The Brevard County Housing Authority board today plans to consider cutting back a housing voucher program that helps people pay their rent, as part of its effort to a solve funding shortfall." "Housing vouchers face cuts".

    Out with the old ...

    "The Volusia County Council broke with the past Thursday, naming a new firm for the first time in 10 years to be what one council member called the county's 'eyes and ears' on Capitol Hill. The council named Washington, D.C.-based Van Scoyoc Associates as its federal lobbying firm after hearing from six candidate firms in a five-hour hearing replete with talk about federal appropriations and first-name references to members of the Congress." "Volusia chooses federal lobbyist".


    "Students at DeLand High School are being warehoused in an old gym when their teachers are absent because there is not enough money for substitutes." "In Volusia County, when teacher is out, so is class".

    Daytona Beach

    "Anticipating tough times ahead, officials announced priorities like fixing the city's aging underbelly and using the right tools to generate jobs at a meeting Thursday." "Daytona sets priorities".

    "Uncharted territory"

    "Week by week, the numbers that measure the economy get worse, heading toward uncharted territory." "Jobs, housing take more hits".

    Not so super

    "NFL, Tampa sell 'Super' in a recession".

    Because the Zell Corporation says so

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Gary Siplin's bill would disenfranchise Orange County voters".

    No friends

    "Supervisor of Elections Kim Weeks enthralled Flagler County voters last fall, but she isn't making any friends at City Hall in Flagler Beach." "Election supervisor, city at odds".

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